Irish Lifeboats

The definitive guide to the Irish lifeboat service

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The latest news releases from the RNLI and CRBI 


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Skerries RNLI respond to medical emergency on Lambay island

Posted on October 23, 2017 at 4:30 AM

Skerries RNLI launched on Sunday evening (22 October) after receiving reports of a medical emergency on Lambay island.


Skerries RNLI Launching The Atlantic 85 Lifeboat. Photo: RNLI/Gerry Canning


Shortly after 8.30pm the alarm was raised by a member of the crew after they received a call from somebody on Lambay island, indicating that a person was unwell and requiring immediate medical assistance. Skerries RNLI volunteers launched their Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat Louis Simson with David Knight at the Helm and crewed by Steven Johnston, JP Tanner and Jack Keane.


The lifeboat proceeded to the island where they went ashore and began to administer first aid to the casualty. Dublin Coast Guard also tasked the rescue helicopter R116. The lifeboat crew prepped a landing area for the helicopter, and they transferred the casualty to the mainland where a waiting ambulance transferred them on to Beaumont hospital.


Speaking about the call out, Lifeboat Press Officer for Skerries RNLI, Gerry Canning said: ‘There were multiple rescue agencies involved in this rescue and it’s great to see everyone working so well together. Our thoughts are with the casualty tonight and we wish them a speedy recovery’

Clifden RNLI new inshore D class lifeboat named Celia Mary

Posted on October 22, 2017 at 8:05 AM


At a special naming ceremony and service of dedication held on Saturday (21 October), Clifden RNLI officially named its new D class lifeboat, Celia Mary, in the Connemara coastal town.


Photo: RNLI/Catherine Pryce


The honour of handing over the lifeboat and officially naming her went to the donor Peter Ross, husband of the late Celia. He was accompanied at the ceremony which was held at the Station House Hotel, by his family, and by Celia’s best friend, Rea Hollis, who has made a generous donation towards the running costs of Clifden Lifeboat Station.


Celia who was from East Sussex but was of Irish descent died three years ago shortly after her 79th birthday. She had always wanted to fund a lifeboat.


A much loved wife and mother of five children, Celia spent many years living self-sufficiently and keeping cows and sheep. She had a great sense of humour and her kitchen was the focal point of her village. An idyllic life came to an end when rheumatoid arthritis took hold but despite suffering from subsequent ill health, this did not stop her from becoming a respected antiques dealer until what has been described as her indomitable spirit, succumbed and she passed away.


During the ceremony, Niamh McCutcheon, member of the Irish Council of the RNLI, accepted the lifeboat on behalf of the charity, from Peter Ross, before handing her over into the care of Clifden Lifeboat Station.


During her address, she praised the efforts of all those who supported the work of the station: ‘In 2017, Clifden RNLI has been requested to respond to 17 call outs, with a total of 26 launches, bringing 18 people to safety between the three different lifeboats on station here. You cannot put a price on the impact that has on people’s lives, whether they are volunteers or casualties.


‘Our lifesavers could not have answered those calls for help without the support they receive from fellow volunteers on the shore: the fundraisers, the launch crew and the station management. In fact the whole of the RNLI depends on those people who represent our charity in the community.’


Lifeboat Operations Manager John Brittain accepted the lifeboat on behalf of Clifden RNLI ahead of Celia Mary being blessed in a service of dedication led by Father James Ronayne and the Very Reverend Stan Evans. The lifeboat was then officially named by Peter.


John Brittain said the event was a special occasion for the lifeboat station adding that the crew were most grateful to Peter for his generous gift in memory of his wife which had funded this lifeboat, Celia Mary.


‘Celia always wanted a lifeboat, and now she has one in Clifden,’ he said. ‘While her lifeboat may be a little far from her family, we have been told by her loved ones, that Celia, who was of Irish descent, would have revelled in the beauty of Galway, Connemara and the Atlantic coast.’


On accepting the lifeboat, he paid tribute to the donor: ‘As Lifeboat Operations Manager along with the deputy launching authorities, part of my job is to authorise her launch when requested. It’s my job to send a message to the volunteers, asking them to get down to the station as quick as possible.


‘When the crew arrive here, and get kitted up, and head out to sea, we’ll have peace of mind because this lifeboat will help to keep them safe, as they save others. So, on behalf of all the station volunteers, I would like to thank Peter and his family. Your generosity has given Clifden a lifesaver.’


The D class Celia Mary replaces the Grainne Uaile which served Clifden RNLI for the last 10 years. During that time, the lifeboat launched 62 times bringing 20 people to safety.


Originally introduced in 1963, the D class has evolved into a highly capable modern lifeboat. It is the workhorse of the RNLI’s fleet and is ideal for working close inshore, near rocks or in shallow water in moderate conditions. It can be righted by the crew if it capsizes and is also part of the RNLI flood rescue team’s fleet of boats.


She comes into her own for searches and rescues in the surf, shallow water and confined locations - often close to cliffs, among rocks and even inside caves.


The RNLI established a lifeboat station in Clifden in early 1988 when a C class lifeboat was put on service for one season’s evaluation. The following year Clifden RNLI became fully operational as a summer season only lifeboat station.


In 1992 part of a building used for housing the lifeboat was demolished and a new purpose built building was constructed in order to provide adequate facilities for the lifeboat and crew. As well as providing an area for the C class lifeboat and launching vehicle, it included a workshop and crew facilities.


In 1997, an Atlantic 21 lifeboat was placed on service and a new boathouse for the lifeboat and a tractor was completed in August 1998.


A new D class lifeboat was placed on service in May 1998.


A new Atlantic 75 B class lifeboat was placed on service in 1999 where it remained stationed until June when it was replaced by the Atlantic 85.


A crowd of well wishers turned up to see the lifeboat officially named with a bottle of champagne poured over the side of the boat before it launched at the end of the ceremony.


Among the guests on the platform party were Pearse Hyland, chair of the Lifeboat Management Group, who welcomed guests and opened proceedings, Peter Ross, husband of Celia who handed over and named the lifeboat, Niamh McCutcheon, member of the RNLI Council of Ireland who accepted the lifeboat on behalf of the RNLI and handed it over into the care of Clifden Lifeboat Station, John Brittain, Clifden RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, Celia’s best friend Rea Hollis who did a reading, and inshore lifeboat mechanic Andy Bell who gave a vote of thanks and closed proceedings.

Arklow RNLI launch to assist Stricken sailing vessel

Posted on October 18, 2017 at 1:05 AM


Arklow Lifeboat launched on Tuesday evening (October 17) following a call for assistance from the crew of a U.K. registered sailing vessel which had suffered mechanical failure.


Arklow Lifeboat with sailing vessel under tow. Photo: RNLI/Arklow


The volunteer crew were tasked to the scene approximately 12 miles South of Arklow.


Arklow Lifeboat proceeded to the reported position of the casualty sailing boat..


Once the yacht had been located, a decision was made to put a lifeboat crew member aboard the 10metre sailing vessel to assist the crew of two.


Following this a tow line was established and the vessel and her crew were towed safely back to Arklow where all came ashore safely.


Following the incident, Mark Corcoran Arklow RNLI Volunteer Press Officer said, “Thanks to all of our volunteers who are always ready 24/7 365 to drop what they are doing in their own lives to go to sea to assist others”

Larne and Bangor RNLI answer pager call during Storm Ophelia

Posted on October 17, 2017 at 6:05 AM


Both Larne and Bangor RNLI were requested to launch on Monday night (16 October) by Belfast Coastguard during Storm Ophelia.


Photo: Trevor Hartnett


The volunteer lifeboat crew pagers sounded at 9.25pm following reports of a person in the water at Whitehead off the Antrim coast.


The sea conditions at the time were very rough with winds gusting up to 60mph. As the Larne RNLI crew assembled and made preparations to leave the Port of Larne, Belfast Coastguard cancelled the launch following confirmation from the PSNI that two females were ashore safe and well.


Larne Coastguard, Portmuck Coastguard and the PSNI were also tasked to the incident.


Speaking following the launch, Larne RNLI Coxswain Frank Healy said: ‘During what is extremely challenging weather conditions I am proud to say 18 volunteers answered the call immediately. This demonstrates our crew dedication to help those in distress at sea.


‘Our volunteer lifeboat crews will always launch to rescue those in danger at sea, but to launch into conditions like these could also put their lives at risk. I strongly urge people to respect the water and stay away from the coastline during the storm. If you do see someone else in trouble in the water, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard. Don’t enter the water yourself as you could also end up in serious danger.’

Rosslare Harbour RNLI rescues 3 people during Storm Ophelia after yacht Mayday

Posted on October 16, 2017 at 1:30 PM


Volunteer lifeboat crew with Rosslare RNLI launched this morning (Monday 16 October) during Storm Ophelia to rescue three men onboard a 10m yacht after they issued a Mayday.


Rosslare Harbour lifeboat under Coxswain Eamonn O’Rourke brought a stricken yacht back to safety this morning. Ferocious seas with wind speeds in excess of 70 knots.

COXSWAIN E. O’Rourke MECHANIC M. Nicholas CREW A. Sheil, M. Ferguson, K. Morris, P. Quirke, S. Breen, R. Parish. Photo: RNLI/Rosslare Harbour


The crew had been trying to get to safety since the early hours and had attempted to gain entry to a few harbours but were constantly pushed back by winds and tides. Ten miles offshore from Rosslare and getting battered by the worsening weather they issued a Mayday before being rescued by the lifeboat crew.


Rosslare Harbour lifeboat, under the command of Coxswain Eamon O’Rourke launched with six volunteer crew and made the journey out to help the three men. Conditions were extremely challenging with force nine winds with a six metre sea swell. The lifeboat had to be carefully manoureved alongside the yacht by Coxswain O’Rourke to establish a tow.


The lifeboat crew made slow progress in the heavy weather but brought all three men safely ashore after 2pm at Rosslare Harbour.


Commenting on the call out, Dave Maloney, Rosslare RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager said: ‘I am extremely proud of our crew. When the pagers went off this morning, as the storm was beginning to take hold, we had seven lifeboat crew down immediately to the station with a further six in reserve. Conditions were very unpleasant out there and we needed to get those three men to safety as quickly as possible.’


‘The crew of the yacht had been trying to come ashore since the early hours but were pushed back and ultimately unsuccessful. When the lifeboat crew reached them they were side on to the weather, taking a ferocious pounding and in danger of getting overwhelmed. I think if another hour had passed this story may not have had such a successful outcome.’

Portaferry RNLI called out to aid man thrown from motor boat in Strangford Lough

Posted on October 15, 2017 at 10:30 AM


A volunteer crew from Portaferry RNLI were preparing for a training exercise when they received a call to go to the aid of a man who had been thrown from a small motor boat which was subsequently spinning out of control.


Portaferry RNLI goes to reports of Dory spinning out of control. Photo: RNLI/Portaferry


The call was received at 10.53 am and the volunteer lifeboat crew were on the water and on their way to the casualty by 10.55am.


The RNLI volunteers were heading for a location roughly half a mile from Don O’Neill Island in Strangford Lough County Down.


The lifeboat crew arrived on scene at 11.00am where the weather was cloudy with fair visibility, a force three southerly wind and calm sea conditions.


On arrival, the volunteer crew learnt that the man had been thrown clear of the small dory when the craft had developed steering problems and started spinning in circles.


He had subsequently been taken on board another boat which had been at the scene at the time and taken ashore by them.With the help of other boats attending a regatta in the area at the time, the Portaferry RNLI crew eventually brought the spinning craft under control, after which they attached tow lines to the vessel and towed it back into Portaferry Marina.

Clifden RNLI rescue six people after boat breaks downs off Connemara coast

Posted on October 10, 2017 at 11:55 AM


Clifden RNLI rescued six people on Sunday afternoon after their boat broke down in the Killary harbour area of Connemara.


Photo: Nicholas Leach


Clifden RNLI’s all-weather and inshore lifeboats were launched shortly before 1pm on Sunday (8 October) following a request from the Irish Coast Guard. The alarm was raised by those onboard the boat after they got into difficulty while on a fishing trip in the Killary harbour area.


The location of the craft was unclear in the early stages as Clifden’s inshore D class lifeboat was driven by road to Renvyle by driver Neil Gallery and launched at Lettergesh Beach while the Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat was launched in Clifden and proceeded from there.


The D Class lifeboat crewed by Alan Pryce, Kenneth Flaherty and Kieran Folan swiftly located the boat and six passengers near Frehill island.


They were out for a fishing trip when their engine failed. The Atlantic 85 lifeboat crewed by Joe Acton, Owen Hayes and Alvin Bell arrived soon after when the D Class already had the boat under tow.


Four of the six passengers were transferred to the Atlantic 85 lifeboat Joyce King and returned to shore at Rossroe where they had departed from. The other two people remained onboard their own boat which was towed back to shore by the D Class Granuaile.


Clifden’s all-weather lifeboat Fisherman’s Friend was also launched to provide additional cover for the rescue operation but was stood down when the two inshore lifeboats had the situation under control.


Speaking following the call out, Clifden RNLI helm Alan Pryce said: ‘Luckily the weather conditions were calm at the time and due to our launch site we were able to locate the boat quickly. The area is known for its rip currents in the area and can be dangerous so we were glad to have been able to attend and assist as quickly as possible once the alarm was raised’. We remind anyone planning a trip to sea to always go prepared and respect the water.’

Portrush RNLI in 15 hour call out to rescue six fishermen from 15m boat

Posted on October 3, 2017 at 10:50 AM

Portrush RNLI has rescued six fishermen during what was a 15 hour call out for the volunteers in rough weather conditions after the fishing boat sustained engine failure off the Donegal coast.


Portrush All-Weather Lifeboat. Photo: RNLI/Portrush


The lifeboat crew was requested by Belfast Coastguard to launch their all-weather lifeboat at 10.37pm on Sunday night 1 October and go to the assistance of a 15m fishing vessel which had suffered engine failure approximately 10 miles north of Malin Head.


The all-weather lifeboat under Coxswain Mark Mitchell and with six crew members onboard, launched and made its way to the scene in stormy conditions. The weather was overcast with showers and moderate seas as the boat launched but conditions progressed to a force 8 south westerly gale as the lifeboat approached Malin Head.


The lifeboat arrived on scene at 0.45am and the crew assessed that the six fishermen were safe and well before working with them to establish a towline.


With a tow set up, the lifeboat proceeded to take the fishing vessel into Lough Swilly. However, with deteriorating weather conditions and with both the tide and wind against them, a decision was made to tow the boat into Greencastle.


During what was a slow tow, the lifeboat was assisted by Lough Swilly RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat which launched at 8am and assisted in bringing the fishing boat into Greencastle and putting the boat on its moorings.


The Portrush crew arrived back at their station at approximately 1.15pm today.


Speaking following the call out, Keith Gilmore, Portrush RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager said: ‘This has been a long and challenging call out for our volunteers in what were rough weather conditions but they were delighted to have been of assistance to the six fishermen who we would like to commend for doing the right thing and raising the alarm when their boat sustained engine failure. This call out is a fine example of volunteers showing their willingness to forgo a night’s sleep and the comfort of a warm bed and some food and using their skill and experience to face challenging weather conditions to help bring others to safety.’

Wicklow RNLI launch to assist three people on dismasted yacht

Posted on October 2, 2017 at 5:05 AM


Wicklow RNLI all-weather and Inshore lifeboats were requested to launch by the Coast Guard on Sunday afternoon at 3.30pm (1st October) after a nine metre yacht with three people on board was reported to have lost its mast and rigging while racing in Wicklow bay.


Wicklow RNLI all-weather lifeboat with the dismasted yacht at Wicklow harbour. Photo: RNLI/Wicklow


The all-weather lifeboat was alongside the dismasted yacht four minutes after launching. Three lifeboat crew were transferred onto the yacht and as precaution, two children were also transferred from the stricken vessel onto the lifeboat.


Conditions at the scene were wind westerly force three with good visibility, sea state was slight.


The inshore lifeboat crew were tasked with recovering the mast and sail from the sea, which was still connected by rigging to the yacht. Once the mast and sail was recovered and secured, a tow line was established. The yacht was taken in tow back to Wicklow harbour, where it was safely secured alongside the South Quay. Thankfully no one was injured during the incident.


Speaking after the callout Second Coxswain Ciaran Doyle said ‘We located the dismasted yacht about half a mile off Wicklow harbour. As the mast and rigging were lying over the side of the yacht in the water, we got the inshore crew to recover them and once they were secure, we were able to tow the vessel to safety.’


The crew on the callout were

All-weather lifeboat

Coxswain Ciaran Doyle, Mechanic Connie O Gara, David O Leary, Graham Fitzgerald, Vinny Mulvihill, Peter McCann, Joe Hanlon and John Stapleton


Inshore lifeboat

Helm Alan Goucher, Lisa O Leary and Dean Mulvihill

Wicklow RNLI assist swimmer in difficulty at Brittas Bay beach

Posted on September 25, 2017 at 2:55 AM

Both Wicklow RNLI lifeboats launched on Sunday afternoon (24 September) to assist a swimmer in difficulty at Brittas Bay.


Wicklow RNLI All-Weather and Inshore lifeboats. Photo: RNLI/Tommy Dover



The Dublin based Coast Guard rescue helicopter, Coast Guard shore unit and an Ambulance crew were also tasked to the incident at the popular tourist beach.


The first report stated the man was swimming a short distance off the beach, but further reports stated he managed to get ashore.The inshore lifeboat crew located the man at the South end of Brittas beach, they administered initial casualty care and first aid until he was handed over to paramedics.


Speaking after the callout Lifeboat Press Officer Tommy Dover: ‘Thankfully the swimmer was ok after his ordeal and required no further medical attention after being assessed by the Paramedics.’


The crew on the callout were


All weather-lifeboat

Second Coxswain Ciaran Doyle, Mechanic Tommy Murphy, Tommy McAulay, David O’ Leary, Lisa O’ Leary, Kevin Rahill and Terry Sillery.


Inshore Lifeboat

Helm Dean Mulvihill, Ian Thompson and John Stapleton.


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